Cities » Chennai

Updated: February 2, 2014 02:26 IST

Chennai’s own publishing icon

B. Kolappan
Comment   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Putparatha Chettiyar
Special Arrangement Putparatha Chettiyar

Putparatha Chettiar published rare works with notes, translation

The city today is a hub for book publishing and the increase in the number of publishers who participated in the book fair in January is testimony to the technology available for printing in Chennai. But nearly 150 years ago, a man by the name of Putparatha Chettiar published ancient literary works including the Naladiyar and Thirikadugam, complete with English notes.

The name of his printing press was Kalarathnakaram Atchukoodam and it functioned from Thambu Chetty street, in North Chennai.

“He was very famous and his house was known as Achapeeskarar veedu (publisher’s house). From 1866, he published all the works with elaborate notes and translations so that the English rulers could access it,” said P. Saravaran, a Tamil teacher, who has republished Putparatha Chettiar’s Naladiyar and Thirikadugam.

Mr. Saravanan said Chettiar also published many of the Pathinenkeezh Kanakku works, mostly penned by the Jain Tamil scholars.

Chettiar’s efforts were particularly significant as U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, whose tireless efforts saved innumerable ancient literary works that would have otherwise been destroyed by termites, had not published the Pathinenkeezh Kanakku.

But barring Naladiyar and Thirukadugam, none of the other works published by Chettiar can be traced.

The books published by him just bore the door number: 289, Thambu Chetty Street and the name of K.R. Press.

Chettiar’s standing in the field of printing and publishing can be explained by the fact that C.W. Thamodharam Pillai, who edited and published some of the oldest works of classical Tamil poetry and grammar, had printed Tholkappiyam, with Senavaryar Uravai, from Kalarathankaram Achukoodam.

Another person who left an unforgettable mark in printing and publishing was Arumuga Navalar of Jaffna. Though Navalar visited Tamil Nadu only five times in his life between 1822 and 1879, he set up a printing press in the Mint Street and Vidyanubhalana Achaenthirachalai was there till recently.

“Both Chettiar and Navalar were contemporaries. Navalar had printing presses in Chennai and Chidambaram,” said Mr. Saravanan. Navalar published his first book as early as in 1849.

More In: Chennai | Books | News
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
The Hindu presents the all-new Young World

100, and counting
Here, we profile colleges in the city that have, for about 100 years or more, moulded young adults and prepared them for the outside world.

Animal planet in Chennai
With Madras Corporation taking charge by 1866, the Madras Zoo as it was called, became the country’s first public zoo to be formed.

>Purasawalkam: From old town to shopping hub
Vellala Street off Purasawalkam High Road mirrors the metamorphosis that the once quaint neighbourhood has undergone over the past three decades.

ChennaiConnect Newsfeed






Recent Article in Chennai

The survey also revealed that in respect of 42.73 lakh households with toilets, in 13.02 lakh households the toilets were found defunct. Photo: Special Arrangement

State of sanitation: poor

The survey revealed that in respect of 42.73 lakh households with toilets, in 13.02 lakh households the toilets were found defunct. »